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Pickens beats state averages on latest school scores

CCRPI1    Results of the 2016 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) released Thursday, Dec. 8 show all Pickens County schools with increased scores, barring one school that maintained the same well-above-average score from 2015.
    In total, schools increased by a combined 40 points with the entire system receiving an increased average score of five points, which is well above increases expected by the state. Pickens schools’ average score for 2016 is 78.3, up from 73.2 last year. Speaking at the regular school board meeting Thursday, Dr. Lula Mae Perry said the state wanted to see between a half point to one point increase in the system.

    “I think that puts [our scores] into perspective,” she said.   
    The CCRPI is an annual assessment of schools and systems to determine if they are preparing Georgia students for college and career readiness. The scores are awarded on an 110-point scale and are based on a variety of indicators, the largest being the Georgia Milestones test administered to 3rd through 12th graders in the area of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
    “On behalf of the board of education, I wish to congratulate the students, staff, and parents of Pickens County for their hard work – it paid off,” said schools superintendent Dr. Lula Mae Perry. “The scores reflect our schools’ dedication to increasing academic rigor and student achievement.”
    Biggest gains came at the elementary level, which is significant because elementary scores statewide declined by 4.3 points from 2015. Tate Elementary increased its score by 14.9 points over 2015; Harmony Elementary showed a 11.2 point increase and Jasper Elementary improved by 6.6 points over last year. Hill City maintained a score of 84 from 2015 to 2016, but the score is considered outstanding and possibly high enough to have it, along with Tate Elementary with its score of 86.5 , ranked as one of the top performing schools in the state.
    Pickens elementary schools on a whole received an 80.6 CCRPI score this year, nearly nine points higher than the state average of 71.7.
    While both PCMS and JMS increased their scores over last year, Pickens middle schools as a whole fell a hair below the state middle school average of 71.5 with a score of 71.4 in 2016. PHS scored one point above the state high school average of 75.7.
    Pickens ranked third when compared to other systems in the RESA district, falling below Fannin with an 83.2 score and Cherokee with an 81.6.   
    “As a former teacher and principal, I can attest to the challenges our teachers encountered with new test requirements and ever-changing assessment criteria,” said Lynda Wallace, Pickens County Schools’ Director of Teaching and Learning. “I had confidence the scores would improve and am so proud of our efforts. I know we’ll see even more gains next year.”